Coming Monday, more Tom Stranger

I’ll be posting another episode of Tom Stranger on Monday.  This time it will be a commercial advertisement from Stranger & Stranger.  I think I’m going to try and make Tom’s adventures a weekly event.

Blogging, Amazon, what I’m working on, and why apartments suck.

Just so you guys know, most writers check their Amazon rankings daily. We’re kind of weird like that. It is a kind of strange competitive trait.  Really, since Amazon updates by the hour on some strange, unknowable formula, it really doesn’t mean much, but being in the good number range is always nice for our egos.   Amazon is only one outlet, but it is a really big outlet. Plus it is the only place where author’s with self-esteem issues can be updated hourly.

MHI has hung in there really well for almost a year now.  I figure out of the 4 million books on Amazon, if you’re hanging out in the top 1,000 you’re kicking serious booty.  The highest I ever got was into the 500 range back at the release, which considering that includes non-fiction, politics, news, childrens books, Kindle, etc. I’ll take it with a smile.  Since then I’ve tapered off, (since ya’ll already bought it) and MHI will normally be hanging out in the 20,000-30,000 range, which is still good out of millions. That means it is still selling. (B&N is still restocking it too, which is even more awesome).

I have noticed a trend though. Whenever I do something on my blog that gets a slew of links and hits, I get an Amazon spike. This week I had two big ones, Tom Stranger and the punching of Ms. Magazine in the face.  Links went out, I made new folks laugh, (and was honorarily adopted into the Robert Downey Jr. Screaming FanGirl club! “Ms. Magazine made fun of Robert? KILL THEM ALL!”  Thank you, Julie, for the intro. )  and yesterday MHI is back up in the 5,000 range, #50 in Horror. (being in the top 100 of a genre is always sweet).  And even better, Monster Hunter Vendetta, which isn’t even released for a few more months has been right there with it too. (though Amazon hasn’t stuck it into genres yet).  This morning both are sitting around 10,000, which is pretty darn good. I do believe MHV is going to do well.

As a writer, if you want to be a success, it takes more than writing a really good book. There are lots of people who are far better writers than I am who fade into obscurity. I’ve always been told that one of the keys is building up a loyal fanbase who trust and like you enough to buy anything you put out.  For any of you who are aspiring writers, I’d recommend blogging.  It introduces your work, it lets your fans get to know you, it helps you network and make friends, and every now and then you can use it to crush your enemies and grind them to dust.

Originally I had some other writers warn me not get too political on the blog, since that ran the risk of offending potential readers. (I’ve noticed that advice is often only applied to those of us on the right)  But I’ve never been very good at that whole middle-ground thing. Nobody has ever accused me of being “moderate”.  I figure, why be mushy? Let people know how you really feel.  Unless you are a writer and a lunatic, because then you might want to keep anything that will hurt your sales out of the public eye.  So you may want to keep your conspiracy theory about the Reptoids from the Hollow Earth to yourself.  Unless there is a big potential fanbase in that community, because if it sells another 10,000 books, then I’m all about the fact that Rahm Emmanuel is actually a Reptoid in diguise.  

On the fiction front, Mike and I have been working hard on splicing together the two halves of Dead Six. Last Saturday consisted of the two of reading the book out loud and tweaking things as we went. (his iguana, Winston, was there as well. Winston, however, failed to provide any useful input into the editing process). My goal is to have the draft out the door and into the discerning hands of Reader Force Alpha by Monday morning.  For anybody who thinks that co-authoring a book would somehow be easier because you’re only doing half the work, you are so very wrong.  Co-writing is actually a whole lot harder. Sure, you can come out with a superior product because two brains are better than one, but you’ve also got to figure out how to mesh two brains together into a coherant mass, and you’ve got a lot more continuity issues and editing work. 

Once D6 is out the door, then I’ll jump back on Monster Hunter Alpha. The actual word count on Alpha is only 75K so far, so about half way through, but the first part is always the hardest, and then it goes faster and faster as I go.  I’ll have Alpha done and out to Toni this summer. 

Meanwhile, the Correias are still living in a crappy little apartment while our new house is being built.  It kind of sucks. I bought our first house seven years ago. It was great. In fact, it was so great that I forgot how much apartments suck. Then we sold our nice house in town in order to build a magnificent house in the mountains.  The only downside was this required living in an apartment. No problem. How hard could that be? We lived in an apartment before… Oh… but we’d forgotten. The years of bliss had faded our memory of being renters.  We’d forgotten that no matter how nice your apartment complex is, some of your neighbors will be crack whores and imbeciles. I don’t care if you pay five grand a month in rent, if you’re renting, one of your neighbors will be a hooker (or might as well be) and somebody else will leave cigarette butts all over your doorway.    

For example, yesterday. My apartment (which by apartment standards, is perfectly nice and sound) has a pool and a hot tub. Mrs. Correia suggested we go let the kids swim and we could sit in the hot tub. They seem to have a pretty good resistence to diseases that begin in the word “Crypto”. Okay. Great idea.  Until we got there, and there were literally 400 children stuck into a 6×10 tub.  Even if it hadn’t been filled with stinky, screaming kid flesh, I’m sure most of the water had been replaced by urine at that point, so Mrs. Correia and I sat on deck chairs while the kids swam in the pool. (98% urine free!)  There was another guy sitting there by us. 

So after twenty minutes, this lady shows up,  goes to the guy in the chair, and I kid you not, says; “I’m back. Thanks for watching my kids. What was your name again?”  She then gathered up approximately 11 of the 400 children from the kid-tub (creating space that was surely immediately filled with pee) and left.  Huh? What kind of person leaves their kids at the pool (and they were young too) with a dude who’s name you don’t even know?  “Excuse me, you don’t look too much like a serial killer. Would you watch my kids? I’ve got to go perform unmentionable acts in the parking lot in exchange for crack money”

The basement is done. The wood has been delivered. There is a porta-potty.  FRAME! FRAME! FRAME! Come on, baby, Correia wants to live in a house again!

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